The F4U Corsair is regarded by many as one of the greatest combat aircraft in history, and was in production for a longer period of time than any US fighter other than the F4 Phantom.  It was designed to use the most powerful engine and biggest propeller of any fighter in existence, and the prototype was the first US combat aircraft to exceed 400mph.

Early experience suggested that the design was in fact a disastrous failure, especially for carrier operations. The extraordinarily long nose interfered with visibility ahead in a way which caused problems during landing and take-off.   The undercarriage had a tendency to break,  and the aircraft also had an inclination to bounce alarmingly on landing.  As a result the US Navy at first rejected it for shipboard operation.   Nonetheless the F4U was adopted by the Marine Corps and quickly demonstrated its effectiveness.   Although its low rate-of-turn made it a very limited dogfighter,  its merits more than compensated for this and its other faults.  Its great power, speed, rate of climb,  capacity to roll very rapidly, powerful armament, large ammunition supply, and exceptional resistance to battle damage allowed it to  quickly demonstrated its great superiority over the enemy fighters in the Pacific theater. By the end of hostilities in the Pacific War it had established an 11:1 "kill" ratio against Japanese aircraft.

Origin:  Chance Vought Division of United Aircraft Corporation (also built  by Brewster and Goodyear)

Type:   Single-seat carrier-based fighter-bomber

Dimensions:  Span 41' (12.48 meters) Britishversion 39'  7"
                       Length 33' 8" - 34' 6" according to version

Weight:  (F4U-1A)  8,873 lb (4,025 kg)

Engine:   (F4U-1)   2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8 (B) Double Wasp 18-cylinder two-row radial
                (F4U-1A)    2,250 hp R-2800-8 (W) with water injection
                (F4U-4)    2,450 hp R-2800-18 (W) with water-methanol
                (F4U-5)    2,850 hp R-2800-32 (E) with water-methanol

Maximum Speed:  (F4U-1A)  395 mph
                                (F4U-5)  462 mph

Initial Climb:     (F4U-1A)  2,890 feet per minute
                          (F4U-5)  4,800 feet per minute

Service Ceiling:  (F4U-1A)  37,000 feet
                             (F4U-5)  44,000 feet

Range  (on internal fuel):  1,000 miles  (1,609 kilometers)


         Guns:   (early versions)   6 x 0.5" Browning MG53-2 machine-guns in outer wings,  with 390 rounds per gun
                      (F4U-1C onwards)   4 x 20mm. cannon in wings

         Bombs/Rockets:   (F4U-1D and most subsequent versions)   2 x 1,000 lb bombs or 8 x 5-inch rockets under wings